For the last 27 years, I have run the Narrative Television Network which makes movies, television, and other educational programming accessible to 13 million blind and visually impaired Americans and many millions more around the world. I founded NTN out of my own need, not any knowledge or expertise I had at that time because I, quite simply, didn’t have any. Today, I look back on our company’s growth and success in awe and wonder. We have received an Emmy Award, an International Film and Video Award, and the Media Access Award from the broadcast and cable industry. As I look back on our accomplishments, I am struck by how little we knew when we began.
Steve Jobs may have said it best when he declared, “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Knowing what you want to do and why you want to do it are infinitely more valuable than understanding how to do something. My late, great friend, colleague, and mentor Dr. Robert Schuller was fond of saying, “Never let how you are going to do it get mixed up in what you are going to do.”
The people we call experts are those who have the best understanding of the current state-of-the-art. These experts’ livelihood, fame, and acclaim come from knowing how things are today and what makes them work; these individuals are, therefore, consciously or unconsciously reluctant to stretch the bounds of possibility as it might relate to breakthrough ideas presented by others. All innovation, invention, and development does not fit into the current world; therefore, if you ask one of these experts about doing something that’s never been done, it is highly likely that you are going to get a negative response.
As I look back on my career in the broadcast, cable, and streaming industries during a time of rapid transition and innovation, I remain grateful that I was clueless. People who can best describe why things work today are often not the best people to evaluate how things might work in the future. When you do find it necessary to seek advice or counsel from someone who is an expert, it is far better to ask them how they would implement your idea and make it work rather than to ask them if they believe your idea will work.
The late, great entrepreneur and executive Mary Kay Ash said, “People will support that which they help to create.” We must use the expertise of others sparingly and wisely. Someone who knows it all today will be a washed-up antique in a few short years. Those who will succeed in the future will focus more on possibility than on reality.
As you go through your day today, be crazy like Steve Jobs and others who have changed the world.
Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.